Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Conquers the Cathedral with Fifth Consecutive Double Podium
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi came out victorious today after a stunning race at TT Circuit Assen, that was decided in the final meters before the flag. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also gave a strong performance to secure third.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi completed a perfect weekend at the TT Assen with an impeccable victory, the 111th in his career and his third of the 2015 season. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also did a superb job at the overcast but dry track, coming from eighth on the grid, to take Yamaha to its fifth double podium of the season.
Valentino Rossi kicked off the Dutch Grand Prix from pole with a dream start to take the holeshot. He held a 0,426 advantage to Marc Marquez after the first lap. The Doctor tried to break away from his encroaching rival and the rapidly approaching Lorenzo and responded by dipping under the previous lap record, but was unable to shake his pursuers off.
Rossi had Marquez on his tail by lap four, but used his YZR-M1's nimble nature to the fullest to keep him at bay. He held on to his position until the Spaniard made his move going into turn one with seven laps to go, but the Doctor was far from defeated. Refusing to let his rival go he stuck close to Marquez and bided his time for four laps before retaking the lead.
The following laps had the fans on the edge of their seat. Valentino rode a personal best time on the penultimate lap of 1'33.673 to create a margin, but Marquez closed in on him in the second half of the last lap. The crowd went wild when the Spaniard made his move going into the chicane for the final time clipping the side of the YZR-M1 and forcing Rossi to run straight through a patch of gravel. The Italian did well to hold on to the bike and reentered the track in front of his rival to take his third win of the season with a 1.242s advantage.
It was a lonely race for teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Starting from eighth on the grid he flew off the line, taking fifth in the first corner. With his teammate in his sights he had an incredible first lap and started to claw his way to the front. He overtook Aleix Espargarò and Pol Espargarò to finish the first lap in third, but the passes cost him valuable time.
The Spaniard put his head down to close the gap to Marquez in second place, but was unable to join the front-runners. With no other riders to spar with, he focused on managing the gap to the rider in fourth place and crossed the line 14.576s behind his teammate, claiming his fifth podium in a row.
The results see Rossi hold on to the lead in the championship with a 163 points total. He is now ten points ahead of teammate Lorenzo in second place.
There is little time for Rossi to recover from today's epic battle; he will be heading straight to the United Kingdom for the Goodwood Festival of Speed this evening and tomorrow. After this prestigious event, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will move on to Germany for the next round at Sachsenring in two weeks' time.
1st / 40'54.037 / 26 laps
"I pushed, and I don't want to say I did a perfect race, but close. I saw I was not able to get distance from Marc. It's always difficult with him and you know the battle will be very hard, but I was confident that I was competitive and I wanted to try for victory. In the last laps I pushed a lot and I arrived at the last chicane when Marc tried to overtake but he arrived a little bit too late, I was already into the chicane and we touched a little bit and I had to cut the corner. Essentially I had no choice and I was lucky, because I got on the gravel, but I stayed on the throttle even though I didn't know how deep it was and I thought there was a chance I could lose control. When I returned to the track I checked the position of Marc, but he had slowed down more than I did. It has been a great weekend and it's very important because I increased my point advantage over Jorge. I think that in a championship as close as this, it is very important you take the maximum profit when you are competitive and when you like the track, because for sure we will have some more difficult moments. It was fantastic to come back here with a victory. I think we deleted the results of Jerez, where Jorge gained nine points over me and now we have to try to delete also Mugello's results where he did the same thing. Apart from the joke, it is very important because Jorge did fantastic to cut down a 28 points gap to just one. So to take nine points now is crucial, also because I think this championship will arrive to the last race and the last lap."
3rd / +14.576 / 26 laps
"We are still ten points behind the leader, which is good. It was 29 points after Argentina so now ten points after a difficult weekend that we had before a race is not so bad. I make a good start, I was really focused in the first lap to recover positions and did it faster than I expected, because I was already in third position when we crossed the finish line for the first time. I tried to keep up with the pace of Valentino and Marc, but they were really strong and I realized that today was not the day. Today was the day to fight and keep this third place, which is very good for the championship. If we struggle and still finish in third place, it's a good thing. Valentino was a little bit more competitive here from the beginning, Marc improved his bike and was more comfortable to keep up the pace and for us it was the opposite. We found that the harder tyre gave us a little bit more problems and in two sectors I couldn't be fast enough and lost so much time in sector two and four. In both I lost half a second and that made it impossible to have a good pace. The next race will be a bit more complicated at Sachsenring, because I've never won there, but you don't know what might happen."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"What an amazing race! Vale really deserved the victory, we couldn't ask for anything more from him. He and the team worked really well over the entire weekend and everything went exactly how they wanted it to go. Valentino rode a very impressive race, because to take victory with someone following you that closely is very difficult. Jorge also did a good job today to take third. Considering the problems he had this weekend and that he had to start from eighth, he did really well. Overall we are very satisfied with our performance at Assen. I have to thank everybody on the team. They all did a fantastic job and proved again why we are the team to beat in the championship. We leave here again with our heads held high, having delivered yet another amazing performance by riders and team."
Espargaro storms to 5th at the Motul TT Assen
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro stormed across the finish line in 5th position today in Assen at the eighth round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. The Young Spaniard launched off the grid from 5th and met the first corner in 4th position whilst right in the mix with the factory MotoGP bikes. He executed an impressive overtake on Aleix Espargaro to move into third before being shuffled back one position at the end of the first lap. Espargaro then stuck into his fierce race pace as he intended to remain with the riders ahead of him. The lap numbers counted down and by the mid point of the race, he was heavily involved in a notable battle for 5th position with five additional riders. On the 20th lap, the pack was covered by just two seconds and the 24 year old was running in 6th with his sights firmly locked on Cal Crutchlow in front. Two laps later, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion powered past Crutchlow and progressed up to 5th before blazing across the finish line impressively ahead of the chasing four riders who were covered by just 0.388.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith produced another strong display in the Netherlands to seize 7th position after becoming involved in the tussle with his teammate that went right to the finish flag. The 24 year old rider commenced the 85th Dutch TT from 12th on the grid and produced a solid start to battle his way up to 8th at the fall of the first lap. Then Smith stuck into his race rhythm and rode consistently as he sought to close in on the group in front. The Briton remained calm and made steps forward before diving past Pedrosa on the 16th lap to seize 8th. With seven laps remaining, he tried to overtake his teammate, yet unfortunately ran off the track in the process and slipped back to 9th. However, Smith soon recovered the distance and was back in the middle of the battle for 5th. He powered onwards before reclaiming 8th on the 23rd lap and then geared up for the final sprint around the 4.5 kilometre circuit. Here he jumped up a place and after speeding out of the iconic Geert Timmer Bocht chicane he was less than a hairs breadth to Cal Crutchlow in what was a spectacular finish to the Motul TT Assen where he just missed out on 6th position by 0.069.
5th / +24.268 / 26 laps
"Of course, I have to be pleased with the fifth position today, yet it was a very tough race. Unfortunately, I had a lot of difficulties with my right forearm again, which I have recently had surgery on and the last six laps were particularly tricky. I ran wide in the fast corners and couldn't brake, so to be honest, riding like this was anything but easy. In the last three laps, I even started to think that I wouldn't be able to finish the race as I was convinced I would run wide and crash somewhere. Yet, I kept fighting and held my position until the finish line, but I just tried to be as big as possible in the last lap to make the others struggle to go past me as I had nothing more to give on the brakes. Therefore, beside the satisfaction of the good result, there is also some frustration because in this situation it will be tricky to continue racing due to the problem itself which is also painful. However, tomorrow we will fly, as scheduled, to our first test in Japan for the 8 hour race and face this new challenge after the good result here in the Netherlands."
7th / +24.442 / 26 laps
"Overall, I am pleased to walk away from the Assen track with another solid finish even though it was hard work in this race. It was especially difficult behind the Honda and Ducati bikes as they have to be ridden in different styles when compared to the Yamaha, so it wasn't easy at all to find my way through. To be honest, it was a bit of shame that I qualified in 12th yesterday as I definitely felt that I had the bike underneath me which was strong enough for 4th position. In the second part of the race, I tried to pass Pol with around eight laps left to go, but I ran off track and then had to move back through the group all over again. I thought that I could have overtaken him and then broken away so it was a pity that I ran wide. Nevertheless, beating two factory bikes was great, especially as it was in one on one battles, so I've got to be pleased with my performance. Also the top satellite bike was only two bike lengths in front, which means we have been competitive again. I must say thanks to the team for the great job and I look forward to getting back on my Yamaha M1 at Sachsenring."
Baz in front of everyone else in the Open Class at Assen
It was a two-faced race in Assen for the Athinà Forward Racing team. Loris Baz was the first Open rider after a tough race, while his teammate Stefan Bradl crashed and he fractured his right scaphoid.
Baz, 15th on the grid, had a good start and he was able to get behind his teammate and very close to the points. On the sixth lap he took the lead of the Open and kept it until the end when he crossed the line in 15th place. For the French rider this is the second win of the season in the Open class. The point collected in Assen consolidates his second place in the league and shortens the distance to Barbera, who is leading the standings.
Unlucky race for Stefan Bradl who crashed heavily a few laps after the start. The German, 13th in yesterday's qualifying, was the fastest Open but he suddenly lost the rear and crashed without being able to do anything to avoid the accident. After the first medical investigations at the Clinica Mobile, Dr. Michele Zasa confirmed the fracture of the right scaphoid. Bradl immediately left the track for Munich where probably he will receive surgery his right hand in the next few days. A press release on his conditions will follow as soon as possible.
15th / +52.396 / 26 laps
"It was a tough race, but I'm happy with the end result. I struggled in the first half of the race, I could not push as I wanted, but the more laps the better was my pace. In the end I was very fast and I finished first in the Open class. I'm pretty satisfied if I think that until yesterday afternoon my health condition was badly affected by an intestinal virus. Only two points separate me from Barbera and this is one more reason to be happy. Thanks to all the team and the sponsors for their support: we can now go for the lead of the Open class."
DNF / 21 Laps
"Too bad, my race ended earlier than expected when I was leading the Open class and I was close to the points zone. I lost the rear and I could not do anything to prevent the fall. Unfortunately I broke my right scaphoid during the impact and I propably will have to undergo surgery to reduce the fracture."